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Details on MeritCare-Sanford merger emerge, including plans for corporate headquarters in Fargo

FARGO - A merged Sanford-MeritCare would bring a "dowry" to this area that would include beefed-up medical research and expansions that could include a freestanding children's hospital and renovated cancer center.

That was the message from Kelby Krabbenhoft, chief executive of Sanford Health, and the proposed top executive of a merger between Fargo-based MeritCare and Sanford, headquartered in Sioux Falls.

Krabbenhoft and Dr. Roger Gilbertson, MeritCare's chief executive, reiterated assurances that they will strive to avoid layoffs from consolidation - and again said they expected job growth instead.

If approved, Sanford-MeritCare would be a North Dakota corporation, with its headquarters planned for downtown Fargo, Krabbenhoft said.

He does not expect to fire any executives, and plans to have an equal number of executives in Sioux Falls and Fargo.

Gilbertson said the unfortunate perception has taken hold among some in the community that a merger will be detrimental for Fargo, but said the community will benefit, in terms of medical services and economic growth.